Since the invention of the bicycle, people ride their bike in regular clothes. Especially in the UK and the Netherlands, driving a bike as a way to get around was common. People would get ready for work and hop on their bike, without changing clothes. We can see this way of commuting clearly in the Dutch-style bike’s characteristics, such as skirt guards, fenders and chain guards. Cycling was fashionable, but that changed after the second World War. Cars increasingly became the (only) way of transport, and bicycles were marketed more and more as a sports item. Race bikes and mountain bikes became more popular, and with that, cycling shorts and gloves, lycra, helmets, and other gear (except in bicycle countries like the Netherlands). The bike as a transport option in cities largely vanished from the public consciousness.
Then, the cycle chic happened. Colville-Andersen believed that that the idea of aggressive, competitive (racing) cyclists damages the concept of cycling as an everyday means of getting around. Why would someone dress like he’s driving the Tour de France, when he’s only going to the grocery store to some vegetables? He advocated cycling in your regular clothes to any event or meeting. If you are going to a job interview, cycle in your suit. If you have a fancy dinner, go there on your bike in your beautiful cocktail dress. If you can walk in in, you can ride in it! Colville-Andersen wanted everybody around the world to embrace cycling in the way the Danish do, making the bike an integral part of everyday life. No need for any form of sport gear. Use your bicycle like you would use your car. He created a website, named Copenhagen Cycle Chic in 2007, where photographs of stylish men and women riding around through town on the bicycle were published daily. The blog became a worldwide hit and the term Cycle Chic was born.
The point of Cycling chic is all about to able able to cycle without special protection (like helmets) or special gear, but with your pet, your baby boy or girl, or with another adult passenger riding on the rack. Drive your bike with grace, elegance and dignity, with style over speed. In the US, Cycle Chic is associated with utility cycling, or in other words, cycling to get around, not just for the purpose of exercise. Be fashionable, and use your bike like you would use any other way of transport: in your clothes of destination.